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Getting started with licensure

Learn about the role of the federal government and states in licensing health care providers for telehealth.

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State licensure of health care providers

The licensure process is intended to protect the general public and to ensure patient safety. Health professionals must meet the licensure requirements of the state where they are located and be licensed or legally permitted to practice in the state where the patient is located.

To practice in a state, providers must meet the requirements. Requirements include education exams, and background checks. Health care providers are expected to maintain and renew their license. Maintenance may require an annual fee, continuing education, and self-reporting disciplinary actions. Many states are revisiting their licensure process to ensure access.

Federal government and interstate practice

Under the federal government, interstate practice of health care is permitted under certain laws and for particular patient population groups, including:

  • Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act: For states that have enacted, this law applies during a declared state emergency. The law allows states to permit health professionals from other states to provide services without having to seek a license in the state where an emergency has been declared.
  • The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act: This federal law protects sports medicine professionals licensed in their home state to provide services to an individual or team when those athletes are in a different state.
  • Health professionals employed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service, and the U.S. Department of Defense are able to provide services to their patients. State requirements do not interfere with federal employment requirements to provide health care, including telehealth.

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